State Police sent to Camden for crime crisis

CAMDEN - December 12, 2011

Camden residents are waiting for details on the state plan to immediately help the city deal with the frightening spike in crime.

"They have to do something. This can't continue. You're going to have more murders, have more burglaries," resident William Roman said.

"The neighbors are living in fear. They vandalized my windows, they robbed [a] house and it's just getting out of hand. We need help," resident Zorca Rivera said.

Last week Council President Frank Moran asked Mayor Dana Redd to declare a state of emergency, ask State Police and even the National Guard for help.

The mayor says she was told Friday by the Governor's office the city will see a "significant deployment of resources", but today Governor Chris Christie wouldn't talk about details.

"I'm not prepared to say today what we're going to do. We're continuing to work with the city administration in Camden," Christie said.

With almost half the police department laid off earlier this year, robbery rates have skyrocketed as have aggravated assaults with guns.

The wave of violence exploded last week with the shooting death of popular local grocer Miguel Almonte, who was murdered by two masked gunmen with assault rifles.

A man who was in the store during the robbery and took several bullets in the arm says something has to be done.

"Taking innocent people's lives and stuff, doing it for a dollar or something like this, it's not worth it. I mean, it's way out of control," the man, who did not want to be identified, said.

18-year resident Charlie Molina says whether it's local cops or troopers, more police are needed now.

"It's getting ridiculous. You can't even go out of the houses. You have to lock up, make sure you've got rails on your house, you have to have guard dogs," Molina.

While waiting for help from Trenton, Camden is continuing plans for a regional police force, which supporters say would put more cops on the street.

But until the particulars are worked out, local police are scrambling to keep up with violent crime and residents are both begging and demanding something be done.

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